LeRoy Neiman, a prolific artist whose dynamically colored paintings and sketches honored heroic figures of sports and entertainment, died Wednesday.
He was 91. His New York-based publicist confirmed Neiman's death.
Throughout his life, Neiman was a larger-than-life yet approachable figure who came to epitomize the magazine with which he had a long association, Playboy.
After studying and then teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Neiman's distinctive style originated by using quick brush strokes with the enamel paint that was being tossed out by a building janitor.
The Playboy association that became synonymous with his personal style and that of his art, began in the mid-'50s, when Hugh Hefner's magazine was new.
Once the publisher saw LeRoy Neiman's canvases with their energetic depictions of boxers and nightlife denizens, a professional marriage was born.
"I've had a lucky life," Neiman said in 2008. "I zeroed in on what you would call action and excellence. ... Everybody who does anything to try to succeed has to give the best of themselves, and art has made me pull the best out of myself."